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Activist Groups Vow To Continue Fight For LGBT Protections

WFAE's Nick de la Canal interviews Matt Hirschy of Equality NC.

Activists groups like Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign say they will fight to reinstate protections that were nullified by the Charlotte City Council in a surprise vote Monday morning.

In a joint news release, Equality NC and the HRC expressed support for state lawmakers who say they will hold a special session Tuesday to repeal House Bill 2, but also said it was imperative for Charlotte to restore the non-discrimination protections that were repealed earlier in the day.

"The NBA, NCAA, and business leaders have made clear that cities like Orlando and Dallas - cities with full protections - are where they can ensure the safety of their employees and fans," the release said. "That means Charlotte's actions must be temporary. The city needs fully inclusive non-discrimination protections, period."

In May, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the Charlotte city council considered a similar deal with the General Assembly. The Charlotte Chamber attempted to get city council to repeal its expanded nondiscrimination ordinance and, in return, state lawmakers would repeal House Bill 2.

In the end, city council rejected the deal after LGBT activists pushed back against the idea. A letter to city council from Equality NC, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center for Transgender Equality, read in part, "A deal that calls for a repeal of the ordinance would only tarnish the legacy of your city which you have worked so hard to strengthen."

In an interview with WFAE,  Matt Hirschy, Equality NC's director of advancement, said he and others with the activist group were unaware city council planned to discuss the ordinance at its meeting Monday, and condemned the move.

"I have to be very clear here - I cannot endorse or support Charlotte rescinding any protections for LGBT folks regardless of the ordinance being superseded by state law," Hirschy said.

"Repealing House Bill 2 gets us back to square one," he said, "LGBT North Carolinians need these vital protections, and we're going to work as hard as we can to make sure they're secured across the board."

Copyright 2016 WFAE

WFAE's Nick de la Canal can be heard on public radio airwaves across the Charlotte region, bringing listeners the latest in local and regional news updates. He's been a part of the WFAE newsroom since 2013, when he began as an intern. His reporting helped the station earn an Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news coverage following the Keith Scott shooting and protests in September 2016. More recently, he's been reporting on food, culture, transportation, immigration, and even the paranormal on the FAQ City podcast. He grew up in Charlotte, graduated from Myers Park High, and received his degree in journalism from Emerson College in Boston. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal
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